Purrfect! A smart shelter powered by AI keeps stray cats warm in
A constant temperature of 27 degrees, a water bowl that never freezes, a comfy mat, and no dogs allowed.
Those are the amenities for felines in a neighborhood in Beijing’s Sh
unyi district, where stray cats can loll around contentedly all winter, nibbling food and sipp
ing water, safe from the weather and provided with love through an artificial intelligence platform. It is purrfection.
Wan Xi, an engineer at Baidu Brain－the open AI platform of Baidu－had the idea of build
ing a smart shelter for strays when he found a kitten huddled on his car tire in the winter of 2017.
Winter is rough for stray animals, as they require extra calories to stay warm. Only around 40 perc
ent of stray cats find enough food and shelter to make it through the harsh temperatures.
Although volunteers offer water, food and even heating pads to stray animals, Beijing’s freezin
g winters can turn a bowl of water into ice before a cat can drink. Many stray cats don’t live more than two ye
ars. Those that are not neutered or spayed face more health problems and spawn more homeless cats.
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